Two years after white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, a Trump official who has quietly worked to undermine efforts to counter white supremacist violence has continued to be promoted through the Trump administration. Meet Katharine Gorka (yes, related), who has pushed her Islamophobic views Behind the Scenes.
Katharine Gorka has publicly shared her extreme, Islamophobic views.
As a Breitbart contributor, Gorka complained that “Presidents Bush and Obama both publicly declared Islam to be a religion of peace, which has struck a sour chord for many.” In another piece, Gorka claimed “nonviolent Islamists can no more be our allies than can Al Qaeda or ISIS.
She has expressed similar sentiments on radio and television programs, saying that Muslims, in her view, aren’t “working with us to prevent” terrorist acts.
We don’t know all of what Gorka has done at DHS, but what we do know isn’t good.
Gorka began her Trump administration career during the presidential transition, and then formally joined the Department of Homeland Security as a policy adviser in May 2017. While there, she reportedly worked to de-prioritize the fight against white supremacist violence and reorient the agency’s Countering Violent Extremism program towards a singular focus on Muslim communities, even as white nationalist violence was in the news and on the rise.
In fact, she played a direct role in revoking a $400,000 grant to Life After Hate—a group that works to de-radicalize neo Nazis—just weeks before the violent rally in Charlottesville. Now, despite the steady rise of white supremacist violence in America, the Countering Violent Extremism program is essentially defunct. And just this week, a former DHS official told the Daily Beast that the agency is in “a mad scramble” to catch up with domestic terror threats following the shooting in El Paso.
Gorka thus appears to have had a key role in hampering the government’s ability to reduce and protect against right-wing terrorism, despite the fact that 73% of deadly violent extremist incidents since September 12, 2001 were perpetrated by right-wing extremists. But even now, Gorka remains in a prominent role within the administration.
Gorka has moved on to become the Customs and Border Protection press secretary.
In June 2019, Gorka left her position in the DHS policy office when she was appointed to serve as the press secretary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Since then, Gorka has kept a low public profile at the agency principally responsible for policing U.S. borders and ports of entry.</p
The Trump administration has refused to disclose what Katharine Gorka’s role was at DHS, so we sued to uncover the truth in May 2019. Here’s what we still want to know:
- How has Gorka’s push to downplay the threat of white supremacy affected DHS and CBP’s work?
- What were Gorka’s day-to-day activities as a DHS Senior Advisor?
- How did her “Islamo-centric view of terrorism” influence policymaking at DHS?
- Was Gorka involved with drafting a DHS report for CBP that recommended monitoring Muslim immigrants on a “long-term basis?”
- Was Gorka involved in pushing DHS’s false narrative and unlawfully inaccurate “Fact Sheet” that claimed terrorists were streaming through the Southern Border—and is she continuing to spread such misinformation in her new role at CBP?
- Was Gorka involved with DHS’s planning, or CBP’s defense, of recent ICE raids in Mississippi and across the country?
- Is Gorka communicating with white supremacists and other hatemongers as a federal employee?